Maleficent: Mistress of Evil Parent Guide
If you enjoy movies with deliciously wicked villains, you're going to have a blast with this one.
Parent Movie Review
Once upon a time, or perhaps twice upon a time, if you remember the story…And so begins Maleficent: Mistress of Evil in which Angelina Jolie reprises the role she created in 2014’s Maleficent. But this sequel is a significant departure from the first film, which was a surprisingly dark Disney production. With its rape allegory, king gone mad from guilt and paranoia, and its morally ambiguous protagonist, Maleficent provided an unusually complex psychological backdrop for a kids’ movie. The sequel has a more intricate plot but it’s set in a simpler emotional context, which makes it feel more like a traditional family film.
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil opens happily. Aurora (Elle Fanning) is blithely ruling the Moors and has accepted Prince Philip of Ulstead’s (Harris Dickinson) request for her hand. Telling the parents doesn’t go as well as the proposal – Maleficent is incensed and Queen Ingrith (Michelle Pfeiffer) reluctantly agrees to welcome the foster-daughter of a non-human into her life. When the two families meet for dinner, tempers flare, King John (Robert Lindsay) collapses (apparently cursed), and Aurora must choose between her godmother and mother-in-law-to-be.
Although Aurora and Philip’s engagement sets the narrative in motion, they are almost peripheral figures in this movie, which boils down to the conflict between Maleficent and Queen Ingrith. And the movie’s title is misleading. There’s only one truly evil character, and (hint) it isn’t Maleficent. If you enjoy movies with deliciously wicked villains, you’re going to have a blast with this one. Michelle Pfeiffer plays Queen Ingrith with icy composure, cloaked in the jewels she wears like armour, and encased in her impregnable certitude and hatred. If you thought your mother-in-law was difficult to get along with, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet…
Ingrith’s bigotry towards fairies and all other non-human creatures is the basis for many of the movie’s most powerful themes. If you’re looking for a movie that urges acceptance of those who are different and preaches the value and beauty of diversity, go buy your tickets now. If you want a movie that warns about the dangers of fearing or hating the unknown, this is the film for you. The tale also provides more messages as it digs deeper into Maleficent’s backstory. When she learns about the fey folk and the sources of her power, she is challenged to become who she is meant to be; to take her incredible powers of transformation and change hate into love and peace. In a world filled with angry voices urging hatred and conflict, this is a message most parents are going to want to share with their kids.
These positive messages do come with a fair bit of violent content. There are explosions, falling bodies, people shot with bows and arrows, collapsing buildings, and people thrown against walls. In a scene that provides a chilling echo of Nazi gas chambers, characters seen as inferior as trapped and poisoned. Some characters are vapourized and family members are deliberately harmed by a loved one. There are many moments of darkness and peril which render this production unsuitable for preschoolers and young children. Older kids will likely enjoy this film with its fast-moving action and you might even get teens to watch it. Finding a movie that can unite kids, tweens, and teens on family movie night could be just as miraculous as uniting the Moors with the Kingdom of Ulstead.Directed by Joachim Ronning. Starring Angelina Jolie, Michelle Pfeiffer, Elle Fanning, Harris Dickinson, David Gyasi. Running time: 118 minutes. Theatrical release October 17, 2019. Updated October 17, 2019
Watch the trailer for Maleficent: Mistress of Evil
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil
Rating & Content Info
Why is Maleficent: Mistress of Evil rated PG? Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is rated PG by the MPAA for intense sequences of fantasy action/violence and brief scary images
Violence: Men abduct moor folk who are imprisoned in glass jars. A man is bitten by a creature he is kidnapping. Men are attacked by tree roots, dragged along the forest floor, and hoisted into the air. A moor creature hits another, knocking him over. A character experiments on plants; he vaporizes a small creature. Reference is made to a creature being mutilated (having his wings removed). Men are tossed through the air, dropped from the sky, and thrown against walls on several occasions. A man collapses. Characters are often injured or killed by arrows fired from crossbows or similar weapons. A main character is shot and falls into a river where she almost dies. Characters are transformed into other creatures, sometimes in frightening ways. Castle walls and towers crumble under attack. Weapons are used which vaporize fairy folk. Creatures are trapped in a building and sprayed with poison. Characters sacrifice themselves to save others. A main character is pushed off a high tower. Another falls off a balcony.
Sexual Content: A man and woman kiss and embrace on several occasions.
Profanity: None noted.
Alcohol / Drug Use: A man asks for wine; he isn’t shown drinking it.
Page last updated October 17, 2019
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil Parents' Guide
Why does Queen Ingrith hate the Moor folk? Do you think her reaction to her experience is proportionate? How do you think she could have responded differently to her life’s experiences? Do you think it’s reasonable to hate an entire group of people because you were once treated badly by someone?
King John sees making peace as an achievement, but Queen Ingrith views it as a sign of weakness. Why do you think violence and contention are valued in our society? Why are peacemakers often scorned as weaklings or sissies? Have you ever made peace between people who were angry? Has anyone helped you make peace with someone you were at odds with? Why is making peace more difficult than starting or continuing a fight?
Loved this movie? Try these books…
If you wondered what happened between the two movies, try reading Holly Black’s Heart of the Moors. This novel tells the story of Aurora’s early reign and Prince Philip’s attempts to woo her.
In another spin on Maleficent, The Isle of the Lost by Melissa de la Cruz sees Maleficent and her fellow villains stripped of their powers and banished to a distant island. But Maleficent has a daughter who sets out to find her mother’s scepter and regain her powers.
Even Maleficent doesn’t go as dark as Liz Braswell in Once Upon a Dream: A Twisted Tale. In this fun YA novel, the princess doesn’t awaken with true love’s kiss: the prince falls asleep too. Can the sleeping princess save them all?
Want more stories about the fae? Try The Iron King by Julie Kagawa. This YA novel is a complex retelling of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Can the faerie and humans live in peace? What if they fall in love? That’s the question in Margaret Rogerson’s An Enchantment of Ravens.
Another retelling from the opposite perspective is Jean Rhys’ Wide Sargasso Sea with its flipped version of Jane Eyre. Here, Mr. Rochester’s mad wife in the attic tells her own story…and it’s not the one you thought you knew.
Related home video titles:
Maleficent is the beginning of this anti-villain’s story and explains how a joyful fairy turns into a vengeful evil figure, only to try to undo her own curse.
Disney’s animated Sleeping Beauty is the classic retelling of the fairy tale for viewers of all ages.
If you like re-worked fairy tales geared to older audiences, you will want to watch Snow White and the Huntsman and The Huntsman: Winter’s War. The first film features a murderous wicked queen who uses dark arts to suck life and youth from beautiful subjects. Snow White’s triumph in this story isn’t complete: the sequel introduces the Ice Queen, sister of the vanquished usurper, who also needs to be defeated.
Mirror, Mirror is another re-telling of the Snow White story aimed at older kids and teens; this one is less violent than the Huntsman movies.
Disney has also remade the Alice stories in ways that are somewhat darker than the animated version. Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass follow an older Alice’s adventures and battles in the strange world she found down the rabbit hole.
If you’re looking for an old tale vibe mixed with action, adventure, romance, magic, and lots of swordplay, turn to Ladyhawke. (Coincidentally, Michelle Pfeiffer stars in this film, but as the cursed maiden, not a villainous queen.)